20 small business ideas: Inspiring suggestions for start-ups
For many in the modern day workforce, a traditional 9-5 working day, a career for life, and a single employer might all seem a little old fashioned as the digital age has supplied more flexible ways of working.
We’ve assembled some of the most flexible small business ideas that supply great startup opportunities for the small business or home worker.
But before you get started there are a couple of questions to consider.
Is running a small business for you?
Running a small business can be very exciting and good fun. Being in charge of how you make your own living gives you a degree of independence. What’s more, there’s no one to answer to beyond your bank balance.
You can also scale your business according to the demand of your market. You might decide to take on staff, or remain solo. Either way, you are in charge of the shape you’d like your business to take, which is, of course, part of the appeal of starting your own business.
But being your own boss is not without its challenges. Learning how to stay motivated - particularly during demanding or very quiet times - can be especially tricky. Working out how to avoid distractions when working from home can present a whole new set of challenges as well.
But if you’re happy drawing on your own resources, then going solo and setting up a small business from home can present great opportunities for creativity and developing new skills.
What makes a good home-based business idea?
There are hundreds of hardworking home businesses that inspire independence and generate a good income for those that run them.
A small business that you run from home doesn’t have to be an entirely original idea either – after all, there are plenty of pet groomers, jewellery makers, cleaners and gardeners who pursue their line of work in spite of the fact that others in their field already exist. However, you’ll need to do at least some market research before committing to a business direction.
Successful small business ideas from home
If you’re looking for some successful small business ideas then there is plenty of inspiration out there, including these small business heroes:
Red Chilli Bikes - a custom bike build service started by David Darby, a former publishing executive.
Mumlin - supplier of stylish and practical baby muslins.
Jane Means - expert ribbon and gift-wrapping courses.
Still stuck for small business inspiration? Here are 14 superb ideas
If you’re keen to set up a home business, or if you’re looking for small online business ideas, then take a look at our top 14 small business inspiration starters below.
- 1. Bakery: If you’ve got some skills in the kitchen then you could set up a small baking business to sell your wares. Occasion cakes, cookies or party favours all go down a storm - especially if you’re offering something niche.
- 2. Childminding: You’ll need experience, training and licensing for this, plus you’ll need to be on top of all the safeguarding legislation.
- 3. Cleaning: Whether it’s for homes, cars or offices, if you have an eye for detail then there are plenty who need your skills.
- 4. Coaching: If you have solid experience in a particular field you might be able to coach others to become experts too.
- 5. Contract customer services: Some companies outsource their customer service operations to home-based contractors, which is handy for fitting around your lifestyle.
- 6. Crafting: If you’re a keen crafter, you could consider selling your creations at markets and fairs or on sites like Etsy and Big Cartel.
- 7. Data entry: Many companies outsource data entry work to home-based workers. This business idea has the added benefit of easily fitting around other daily demands like childcare.
- 8. Design: Perhaps you have design skills that you’ve yet to draw upon, or you’d like to apply them to an area like garden design. Basic training in your field will help you get started.
- 9. Freelancing: If you have a professional skill such as copywriting, editing, proofreading, bookkeeping or graphic design, the chances are you can set up as a freelancer.
- 10. Gardening: If you love the great outdoors, have some solid plant knowledge and are good at physical work then gardening could be for you.
- 11. Hairdressing: Obviously training is an important requirement but home hairdressing is becoming an increasingly popular way for people to fit their grooming around busy lives.
- 12. Pet sitting: If you’re an animal lover than you are indispensible to people who want close company for their pets when they are working or travelling.
- 13. Tutoring: If you have specialist knowledge then you can help others to benefit from it.
- 14. Upcycling: Marry your creative, practical and selling skills by enhancing once-loved items and selling them on.
Challenges of home-based employment
Whatever idea you decide to startup with, make sure you’re covered from business risk. Take a look at our small business insurance options to find out more.